Monmouth Poll: Christie Sags Beneath State Legislature

Trump and Christie.

Trump and Christie.

In case you didn’t know it already, New Jersey’s governor is really unpopular at home.  The latest Monmouth University Poll finds Chris Christie’s job rating at an all-time low – even worse than the negative ratings earned by the state legislature.  By a 2-to-1 margin, residents think the state is worse off for Christie’s time in office and the vast majority believe he endorsed Donald Trump primarily in the hope of getting a federal appointment.

Currently, just 27% of New Jersey adults approve of the job Christie is doing as governor while 63% disapprove.  Among registered voters specifically, his rating is 26% approve and 65% disapprove.  These ratings reflect a record low for the governor.  Moreover, for the first time in Christie’s six-plus years in office, the state legislature actually enjoys a relatively better rating – 30% approve and 49% disapprove among all residents; 29% approve and 53% disapprove among voters.

“It’s really saying something when the legislature, which rarely manages to get its rating above water, is seen as more effective than the governor,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

For the record, Christie does manage to eke out a net positive rating among his fellow Republicans (51% approve and 41% disapprove).  This is more than offset, however, by dismal ratings from independents (23% approve and 65% disapprove) and Democrats (17% approve and 76% disapprove).

The poll found that twice as many New Jerseyans say that the state is currently worse off (41%) because of Christie’s time as governor than say it is better off (21%).  Another 34% say the state is in about the same condition as when he took office from the somewhat more popular Jon Corzine, whose approval rating was in the mid to upper 30s when Christie defeated him in 2009.

Nearly 8-in-10 Garden State residents (79%) say Christie is more concerned with his own political future than he is with governing the state (13%) – marking the highest level of public skepticism about Christie’s public service commitment in more than four years of asking this question.  In fact, the vast majority of New Jerseyans (68%) say the main reason that Christie threw his presidential endorsement to “The Donald” shortly after ending his own presidential bid was his desire to get some type of appointment in the Trump administration.  Another 9% say this consideration was a minor reason for Christie’s endorsement, and just 15% say that getting a job in D.C. was the furthest thing from Christie’s mind when he decided to back Trump.

“Despite his statements to the contrary, the vast majority of New Jerseyans seem to believe that Christie’s main concern right now is figuring how to get out of the state as soon as possible,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll also asked residents to rate the job being done by Barack Obama and the state’s two U.S. senators.  All three get significantly more public opinion “love” than Christie.  Obama’s rating now stands at 56% approve and 39% disapprove among all adults and 53% approve and 41% disapprove among registered voters.  These numbers are somewhat more positive than they were a year ago.

The state’s junior senator, Cory Booker, earns a 49% approve and 21% disapprove rating among all residents and a 53% approve and 21% disapprove rating among voters.  The state’s senior senator, Bob Menendez, who is currently under indictment, earns a 40% approve and 29% disapprove rating from all adults and a 41% approve and 31% disapprove rating from registered voters.

The poll also found that just over 6-in-10 state residents give New Jersey a positive rating as a place to live – 16% excellent and 46% good.  This is a slight uptick from July of last year, when positive ratings stood at 55%, but is in line with positive ratings in the low 60s measured over the two years prior to that.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone with 806 New Jersey adults, including 703 registered voters, from May 23 to 27, 2016.  The total sample has a margin of error of + 3.5 percent and the registered voter sample has a margin of error of + 3.7 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.